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Fontana dell'Acqua Paola

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Via Garibaldi, 00153 Roma RM, Italy

Opening Hours

24 hours

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Tiger
Local tour guide
"To truly appreciate the magnificent Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, visit early in the morning when the soft light of sunrise makes the marble glow and you can enjoy the serenity without the crowds. Insider tip: after marveling at the fountain, take a short walk up to the nearby Piazzale Garibaldi for panoramic views of Rome that are particularly stunning at dawn."

What is Fontana dell'Acqua Paola?

Allow me to take you on a journey to one of Rome's less sung treasures, the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, often affectionately called "il Fontanone" by the locals. Perched on the Janiculum Hill and offering a breathtaking vista of the Eternal City, this monumental fountain is a baroque masterpiece, overshadowed by the more famous Trevi but just as steeped in history. Its cascades tell tales of papal patronage and symbolic gestures, its waters a gift to the Roman people that has flowed for centuries.

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The fountain was built as a terminus for the Acqua Paola aqueduct, which Paul V restored in the early 17th century. With its grand design and impressive marble facade, the fountain draws those seeking solace from the more boisterous tourist spots. Standing before it, one feels transported to a bygone era, where the sound of spilling water was a hymn of sorts to Rome's rebirth during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.


History of Fontana dell'Acqua Paola

The Fontana dell'Acqua Paola is steeped in history, tracing back to its inception in 1612. Commissioned by Pope Paul V, the fountain was designed to mark the end point of the Acqua Paola aqueduct, originally built by the ancient Romans and repaired to provide the Trastevere district with clean water. The pope wanted to celebrate the accomplishment of bringing water from Lake Bracciano all the way to Rome—a feat of engineering and an act of benevolence.

The design was realized by the architect Giovanni Fontana, with contributions from Flaminio Ponzio and possibly Carlo Maderno. Witnessing shifts in taste and minor architectural alterations over the centuries, the fountain remains true to the opulent style of its era, featuring a façade of granite columns and a dedication inscription to its papal benefactor.


Why is Fontana dell'Acqua Paola Important?

The Fontana dell'Acqua Paola isn't just a fountain; it serves as a symbol of the papacy's role in revitalizing Rome during the Baroque era. It embodies the Cardinals' vision to not only provide utilitarian infrastructure but also to enhance Rome's splendor. Its waters, once vital for daily life in the city, now represent the living history and the continuity between the ancient world and modern Rome.

Moreover, its location on the Janiculum Hill adds to its significance, as this is a place steeped in myth and history. It's a silent witness to many of Rome's pivotal moments, a monument marking the evolution of the city’s urban landscape and the importance of water in Roman culture. Emblematic of the aesthetic ideals of its time, the fountain stands as an enduring testament to the grandeur and ambition of the period.


Things to Do & See at Fontana dell'Acqua Paola

Visiting the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola provides a serene reprieve from the more crowded tourist paths. One can admire the consummate artistry of the facade, with its intricate travertine and marble inlays, and five distinct basins where the water plays a soothing melody. The panorama from the terrace is simply unmatched; from here you can gaze over the terracotta rooftops to St. Peter's Basilica in the distance—a perfect spot for photographers and romantics alike.

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While you’re up on Janiculum Hill, take time to explore the surrounding area. The church of San Pietro in Montorio, where it's said St. Peter was crucified, is a short walk away. Engage with the history through the church’s Tempietto, an architectural gem by Donato Bramante. Afterward, meander through the Orto Botanico, a botanical garden associated with Sapienza University, or catch a puppet show at the Teatro Verde — it's a delight irrespective of your age.

No visit is complete without absorbing the local atmosphere. Take a stroll down the winding streets of Trastevere, brimming with artisan shops and trattorias where you can savor authentic Roman fare. Stop by a local cafe, enjoy an espresso while taking in the view, and you might just hear stories about the Fontanone whispered by the elder Romans—a nod to the communal fabric woven through these waters.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola?

The Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, also known as Il Fontanone, is a monumental fountain located on the Janiculum Hill in Rome, Italy. It was built in the early 17th century to mark the end point of the Acqua Paola aqueduct, which was restored to transport water to that part of the city.

Who commissioned the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola?

The fountain was commissioned by Pope Paul V in the early 1600s and was designed by architects Giovanni Fontana and Flaminio Ponzio. It was intended to celebrate the restoration of the ancient aqueduct that supplied water to the Trastevere district.

What is the historical significance of the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola?

The Fontana dell'Acqua Paola was one of the first monumental fountains to be built in Rome during the Baroque period. It symbolized the papal power and the renaissance of Rome, underlining the ability of the Pope and the Catholic Church to provide for the city's needs.

Can visitors access the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola?

Yes, visitors can access the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola. It is a popular tourist attraction and a historic landmark in Rome that provides a magnificent view of the city from the top of the Janiculum Hill.

Are there any notable features of the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola?

The fountain is noted for its grand architecture and design, which includes large granite columns that were taken from the ancient Roman Forum. It also features marble coats of arms of the Pamphili family, inscriptions celebrating the construction of the aqueduct, and a central arch framing a beautiful view of Saint Peter's Basilica.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Via Garibaldi, 00153 Roma RM, Italy

Opening Hours

24 hours

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps